|Born||Julia Kathleen McKenzie
17 February 1941
Enfield, Middlesex, England
|Occupation||Actress, director, presenter|
|Spouse(s)||Jerry Harte (m. 1971)|
Julia McKenzie (born 17 February 1941) is a much lauded English actress, singer and theatre director. She is best known to television audiences for her performance in Fresh Fields and its sequel 'French Fields', and more recently as Miss Marple in Agatha Christie's Marple. McKenzie has enjoyed an illustrious theatre career on both sides of the pond, particularly in Musical Theatre having appeared in successful productions in both the West End and on Broadway, including several notable productions of Stephen Sondheim musicals.
In London's West End her performing credits include Guys and Dolls as Miss Adelaide (1982) and Sweeney Todd as Mrs. Lovett (1994), winning the Olivier Award for Actress of the Year in a Musical for each.
She played the Witch in Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" at the Phoenix Theatre, London in 1990.
For her role in Woman in Mind, she received the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress. She has also appeared in Follies as Sally at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1987 and Into the Woods as the Witch at the Phoenix Theatre in 1990. She appeared in Side By Side By Sondheim in the West End in 1976 and on Broadway in 1977, and was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for her performance.
On television, McKenzie co-starred with Irene Handl in the sitcom Maggie and Her (1978–79), and with Gareth Hunt in That Beryl Marston...! (1981). She went on to greater popularity with British viewers as Hester in Fresh Fields and the sequel French Fields in the 1980s opposite Anton Rodgers, for which she was voted TV Times Favourite Female Comedy Performance for five consecutive years. She also appeared as Mrs Forthby in Blott on the Landscape and as a Midsomer villager involved in a series of murders in an episode of Midsomer Murders. Film credits include Hotel du Lac, Shirley Valentine, Bright Young Things and These Foolish Things.
In 2007 she was reunited with Anton Rodgers (again as a husband and wife team) in the ITV comedy You Can Choose Your Friends. In 2007 she co-starred with Michael Gambon and Judi Dench in the BBC1 costume drama series Cranford, playing Mrs. Forrester, a military widow of slender means, very attached to her cow Bessie.
McKenzie noted: "It’s difficult because Agatha Christie wrote her in two ways...First, very much what Geraldine McEwan played: a slight, rather Victorian creature. Then, a little sturdier and tweedier. I chose the latter. A lot of people say they don’t like the tweedier version. But they’re both genuine." Also, she said: "Just about everybody in the world knows about Miss Marple and has an opinion of what she should be like, so I’m under no illusions about the size of the task ahead." McKenzie's first series of Marple comprised A Pocket Full of Rye, Murder is Easy, They Do It with Mirrors and Why Didn't They Ask Evans?. The second series of the show, which aired in 2010, included The Pale Horse, The Secret of Chimneys, The Blue Geranium, and The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side. A sixth series, including adaptations of A Caribbean Mystery, Greenshaw's Folly and Endless Night, began filming in September 2012 and was broadcast in 2013.
During the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony she played Her Majesty the Queen on board the helicopter in the short film Happy and Glorious. That year she also played the role of Betty Nicholas in the ITV television series The Town.
In 2015 McKenzie appeared as Shirley Mollison in the BBC mini series The Casual Vacancy
She is a radio performer with a long list of credits, including Blithe Spirit, The Country Wife and A Room with a View. As a director she has staged Stepping Out, Peter Pan, Hey, Mr. Producer!, Steel Magnolias, Putting It Together and A Little Night Music.
McKenzie has been married since 1971 to American actor-director, Jerry Harte.
- (London debut) Maggie May, Adelphi Theatre, 1966
- Gloria, Mame, Drury Lane Theatre, London, 1969
- Girl in owl coat, Promises, Promises, Prince of Wales Theatre, London, 1970
- April, Company, Her Majesty's Theatre, London, 1971
- Cowardy Custard, Mermaid Theatre, London, 1973
- Cole, Mermaid Theatre, 1974
- (New York debut) Side by Side by Sondheim, Music Box Theatre, New York City, 1977
- The Norman Conquests, 1978
- Ten Times Table, 1979
- Miriam Dervish, Outside Edge, Queen's Theatre, 1979
- Lily, On the Twentieth Century, Her Majesty's Theatre, 1980
- Maggie Hobson, Hobson's Choice, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London, 1981
- Anna Kopecka, Schweik in the Second World War, Olivier/National Theatre, London, 1982
- Miss Adelaide, Guys and Dolls, Olivier/National Theatre, 1982
- Susan, Woman in Mind, Vaudeville Theatre, London, 1986
- Sally Plummer, Follies, Shaftesbury Theatre, London, then West End Theatre, New York City, 1987
- Happy Birthday, Sir Larry, Olivier Theatre, National Theatre, 31 May 1987
- Witch, Into the Woods, Phoenix Theatre, London, 1990
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, National Theatre, London, 1993
- Kafka's Dick, Piccadilly Theatre, 1998
- Fuddy Meers, Arts Theatre, 2004
- The Philadelphia Story, Old Vic, 2005
- Stepping Out, Duke of York's Theatre, London, 1984
- Just So, Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, Berkshire, England, 1989
- Steel Magnolias, Lyric Theatre, London, 1989
- Putting It Together, Manhattan Theatre Club Stage I, New York City, 1993
- (Stage direction, with Bob Avian) Hey, Mr. Producer! The Musical World of Cameron Mackintosh, Lyceum Theatre, London, 1998
- A Little Night Music, Tokyo, 1999
- Dick Deadeye, or Duty Done (1975)
- The Wildcats of St. Trinian's (1980)
- Hotel du Lac (1986)
- Shirley Valentine (1989)
- Vol-au-vent (1996)
- The Snow Queen's Revenge (voice) (1996)
- Bright Young Things (2003)
- These Foolish Things (2006)
- Notes on a Scandal (2006)
- Gangsta Granny (2013)
- The Casual Vacancy (2015)
- Patay, Ajesh (25 August 2009). "Julia McKenzie on Being the New Miss Marple: interview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
- "Julia McKenzie Biography (1941–)". Retrieved 14 March 2014.
- "Olivier Winners 1982" olivierawards.com, accessed 18 August 2011
- "Olivier Winners 1994" olivierawards.com, accessed 18 August 2011
- Hutchins, Michael H. (compiler)."'Follies', 1987 London Production" Sondheimguide.com, accessed 18 August 2011
- Hutchins, Michael H. (compiler). 'Into the Woods', 1990 London Production Sondheimguide.com, accessed 18 August 2011
- Hutchins, Michael H. (compiler)."'Side By Side By Sondheim" Listings" Sondheimguide.com, accessed 18 August 2011
- Cast list from Happy Birthday, Sir Larry theatre programme, 31 May 1987
- "'Cranford' Characters, Mrs. Forrester" PBS.com, accessed 18 August 2011
- Hemley, Matthew."McKenzie to take on Miss Marple role for ITV" The Stage, 11 February 2008
- Hand, Lise (29 July 2012). "'Secret agent' in the coup that made the Queen a global TV comedy star.". The Mail on Sunday. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- Wilson, Frances The Town, ITV1, review at The Telegraph, 5 December 2012. Retrieved 16 August 20134
- SilkSoundBooks "About Julia McKenzie" silksoundbooks.com, accessed 18 August 2011.
- Cole 1974 production at sondheimguide.com
- Dalglish, Darren Kafka's Dick, Piccadilly Theatre (Review) at London Theatre Archive, 26 January 1999
- Julia McKenzie at the Internet Broadway Database (listed as "Julie N McKenzie" as a result of a previous Broadway actress called "Julia McKenzie")
- Julia McKenzie at the Internet Movie Database